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Peikoff: Children Are Property


in the podcast, Peikoff says 10 year olds are property. jesus fucking christ.

my loose notes on what podcast said:

shud biz be allowed to sell alcohol and tobacco to 10 year olds?

peikoff: no cuz they are the property of their parents

it is self-evident that a 10 year old is not a self-sufficient independent entity

you don't have to go investigating this stuff, but if something is visibly someone else's property and has no authority to make a purchase, you have to act accordingly

what do you even say back to that? he didn't argue, he said it's self-evident. i don't find it self-evident and don't know his reasons.

i do know that lots 10 year olds are smarter and more competent than the average adult in lots of ways. i know that in the past, it wasn't that rare for 10 year olds to be taking care of themselves without parents. i know that 10 year olds have clearly demonstrated a capacity to think and learn many years prior (icnluding especially, as Ayn Rand discusses in The Comprachichos, in their first few years of life). and i believe that if you can learn and think (universally, the same as any adult), you are a person, not property.

also from the same podcast he discusses swinging (in the sense like sexual promiscuity). he mentions common motivation being thrill of rebellion against morality and also feeling free from morality. i roughly agree but i think it's more rebellion against society, against social norms, against society's rules. and feeling free from all that stuff, like feeling you can do what you want instead of obey your culture's rules. i think it's less philosophical than Peikoff said, more about other people than moral principles.

Update: I transcribed the text about children being property. It's from 5:45 to 6:50.
Q: Should businesses be allowed to sell tobacco and alcohol products to people of whatever age they wish, for example a ten year old?

A: No. Because these are the property of their parents, legally and recognizably, objectively by anyone. It is self-evident that they are not, a ten year old is not, a self-sufficient entity and is under the control of someone else. And you must respect that as an issue of respecting someone else's property.

Now this does not mean a businessman has to inquire into the moral status of everybody he deals with. You don't have to find out if you're selling bread, is this customer a communist or an Objectivist? You're selling a product. But if something is visibly somebody else's property and has no authority to make a purchase, then you have to act accordingly.
(That's the full text. Then he moves on to the next question.)

Elliot Temple on August 12, 2015

Messages (10)

He doesn't mean the child's body is property, in the sense that ownership is the right of use and disposal. He's not advocating murdering your own children.

What he means is that the decision of whether or not a 10-year old may possess alcohol/tabacco is the property of the parent. A 10-year old doesn't get to make that decision themselves, and that is what is self-evident.

This is another example of getting semantically bent out of shape to serve an underlying agenda.

Anonymous at 12:10 PM on August 12, 2015 | #2528 | reply | quote

But if I concede everything you claimed about his meaning, I wouldn't change my position at all. I find that completely unacceptable. I'd write the same reply.

So, no. You're wrong to blame semantics. It's not semantics, it's you being so unable to conceive of child-as-person that you think I must be objecting about something dumb, rather than straightforwardly disagreeing with the main thrust of it.

Elliot at 12:18 PM on August 12, 2015 | #2529 | reply | quote

to clarify "something dumb": i don't think the issue is murdering children. that's totally not what i was arguing against. i didn't have anything like that in mind.

Elliot at 12:21 PM on August 12, 2015 | #2530 | reply | quote

So then, even if you concede everything I claim about his meaning, what *you* mean is that a 10-year old has the right to decide for himself whether he should consume alcohol and tabacco products. Correct?

That's completely bonkers and degenerates the argument to sheer idiocy, at which point I'm done with it.

Anonymous at 3:35 PM on August 12, 2015 | #2531 | reply | quote

The agenda of course is Peikoff-bashing, by semantic nit-picking or any context-dropping way of fabricating words into his mouth you can.

I'm only happy to come his defense. Thank the universe for Leonard Peikoff, without whom I might be just as agenda-driven, rather than objectivity-driven.

Anonymous at 3:39 PM on August 12, 2015 | #2532 | reply | quote

What nits do you think Elliot is picking, precisely? What context is being dropped? What words fabricated?

State your premises clearly and cite concretes or GTFO.

Justin at 5:54 PM on August 12, 2015 | #2533 | reply | quote

By cite concretes I mean use quotes instead of vague attacks

Justin at 5:55 PM on August 12, 2015 | #2534 | reply | quote

in another podcast Peikoff says, roughly: Children have no right to liberty. Can initiate force to protect.

regarding that and this post, some followup comments:

no comment about how mainstream uses force against children badly. he’s just like “sure use force against kids” without bothering to object to the widespread harm being done to children. and he does not bring up the key issue of: are we talking about force the child objects to, or not? when you pull a child away from a car, you’d do the same thing with an adult friend, and he wouldn’t object to it, he’d thank you. in the context of a good parent-child relationship, child will thank you too. child knows less about the world than your adult friend and would be more confused, but in context of good parent-child relationship, basically child fills in that ignorance by giving his parents the benefit of the doubt. also, why is kid by a road, in such a way he can walk in front of a car, if 1) he doesn’t know better AND 2) he’d mind being pulled away? that’s like leaving bottles of bleach lying around when you have a kid who will cry if you take them away from him. the premises of the scenario need investigation.

and when peikoff says 10 year old kids are property, that’s HORRIFYING to MOST CIVILIZED PEOPLE. and he doesn’t bother acknowledging that and speaking to it. he fucking says his view is self-evident. there he is horrifying most of civilization, and he just says his position is self-evident and leaves it at that. you can disagree with most civilized people, but you need a better argument, and you need to speak to their well known concerns.

he doesn't understand tradition and Burke and that kind of thing. he doesn't understand why to address common ideas about his topics (like if you advocate certain specific violence against children, in a society where there is lots of IMMORAL violence against children, you better put some effort into differentiating). OR, alternatively, he approves of a lot of that immoral violence against children, so that's why he doesn't differentiate.

and he doesn't even understand like common sense that if you just say something most people find horrifying is self-evident, you're doing it wrong.

Elliot at 6:22 PM on August 12, 2015 | #2535 | reply | quote

> That's completely bonkers and degenerates the argument to sheer idiocy, at which point I'm done with it.

what an irrational, anti-paths-forward ( http://curi.us/1761-paths-forward-summary ) way to deal with disagreement.

> The agenda of course is Peikoff-bashing

I criticize Peikoff more than some others precisely because he's BETTER than them. criticizing mixed people, with some great stuff, is usually more interesting and informative than criticizing more thoroughly bad people.

also i mostly criticize people whose stuff i read or see or something. which is mostly people i at least kinda like. i wouldn't be listening to Peikoff's stuff if i didn't see value there.

Elliot at 6:24 PM on August 12, 2015 | #2536 | reply | quote

Children Are Not Property

Although I understand Dr. Peikoff's aim is to protect children, never-the-less, human beings, no matter what age, even those yet unborn but able to sustain themselves physically independent of their mother's body, are never property. Until their brain has matured to the point to which they can fend for themselves, they are under the protection of parents or guardians. What if a parent decides it's fine for the child to have drugs and liquor? It would soon be clear that that parent is not a fit parent, and a responsible guardian must be appointed. Human children, like slaves can never be considered property, especially in a philosophy like Ayn Rand's Objectivism.

Mary Naylor at 12:15 PM on November 10, 2017 | #9237 | reply | quote

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